Eat Pintxos in Spain

A traveler friend had told me about these ‘bruschetta-style tapas with toothpicks stuck in them’ that I just had to try in Spain. She said, “I think they are called peen-chows or pint-oxe or pin-tox, something like that.” Huh? Luckily, a Google search for Spanish ‘pin-tox’ was enough of a clue to find the information I needed for pintxos.

Pintxos (or pinchos) are small snacks typically served in Spanish bars, particularly popular in Basque country. These finger foods have an array of toppings placed on crunchy bread, spiked with a toothpick and displayed buffet style.

We were strolling through the charming beach town of Sitges when I peeked my head into Lizarran, a pintxos bar. Before deciding to enter for my very first pintxos experience, I watched others partake in order to familiarize myself with the system. I didn’t want to be the one to screw with the system.Pepper Pintxos tapas
Pintxos SignAnchovy Pintxos Tapas

It looked easy enough, even for me; grab a plate, pick the snacks you would like to indulge in and return your barren toothpicks to be counted. You are then charged by the number of fruitless skewers you surrender at the register.

I can do this. I am good at choosing…eating…and even counting. Give me a plate.

We started with four snacks, one sangria and a beer. I could have stopped right then, with a mere 4 toothpicks, but what fun would that be? I decided to turn my Spanish “happy hour” into dinner.
Toothpick Pintxos Tapas Leftover pintxos toothpicks

I sensibly grabbed course two of my pintxos dinner, a cheese stuffed pimento pepper. As if adding just one more pintxo would complete my full supper quest.

5 Toothpicks down. Over half-way there.
Pepper Pintxos in Sitges

The third course, which would lead to my 8th toothpick, featured chorizo, cured meat and baby eel. 

Of course, with my weird food obsession I couldn’t pass up nibbling on a little eel.
Pintxos Selection in Sitges

Even though eight toothpicks would have indicated the finish line for most people, I went back to pick out a second of my favorite pintxo.

Jam with cheese, pepper with anchovy and chorizo with a padron were all contenders. Actually, if I were being honest, the anchovy one was really not a contestant, it was just a pretty good photo.
Jam Pintxos in Sitges
Anchovy Pintxos Pinchos Tapas

In the end the slightly spicy chistorra sausage with charred padron pepper won a second visit to my mouth. Definitely worthy of being toothpick number nine.

Take note of the half eaten baby eel pintxo in the background. Not a fan.
Padron Pintxos in Sitges
Pintxos Toothpicks

For the record, this experience would have been a ten toothpick venture at the end if the Oreo cookie pintxos weren’t sold out by the time I was ready for dessert. Damn.
Oreo Pintxos

9 pintxos. 2 cocktails. 1 memorable new adventure (& bucket list check). €17,90.

Have you had pintxos in Spain before? How many toothpicks did you rack up?

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Take a Segway Glide Through Barcelona
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Have a Bucket List Worthy Afternoon in Sitges, Spain
Eat The Best Tapa in Barcelona, Spain

Discover more of the best foods in the world

2018-12-21T17:45:36+00:00July 4th, 2012|Categories: Europe, FOOD, Spain, TRAVEL|Tags: , , , |


  1. Lauren of Spanish Sabores July 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    They look great! Pintxos are awesome, and it's crazy how many places just trust people to tell they how many they ate. I'm glad you enjoyed them!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      Being that I own a restaurant, I thought the same thing about them just trusting people to redeem all the pintxos toothpicks!

  2. jenny@atasteoftravel July 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Only nine!! It's so easy to get carried away eating pintxos! Thankfully I didn't count the toothpicks on a pintxos crawl through the bars of San Sebastian where you can find some of the best snacks. Shame the Oreo cookie pintxos had gone – they look decadent!!

  3. Ruth2Day July 5, 2012 at 3:38 am - Reply

    what an excellent way to eat such delicious delights.  I've not had the stick version,  but I would think it could be like having tapas or hor dourves on sticks. 

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 4:40 am - Reply

      It is like having a tapas spiked with a tooth pick 🙂

  4. Heather July 5, 2012 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Reading this at work and drooling — so much fun!! I had to eat my banana as a consolation prize 🙁

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 6:15 am - Reply

      A banana is not a great consolation prize, but probably a lot healthier than most pintxos!

  5. Ryan at Travel and Graphs July 5, 2012 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Now I have to go on a quest to find the nearest bag of Oreos! Although I am not sure if mine  will be half as tasty as the ones in these photos seem to be!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 6:43 am - Reply

      Ha ha! I am a huge fan of Oreos, so I think they are always pretty good, unless they are stale 😉

  6. Jonathan Look, Jr. July 5, 2012 at 9:46 am - Reply

    If you keep making all these great food posts I am going to have to start following your path! Yum!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      I can’t help it I have a serious passion for EATING!!

  7. CeCe July 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Pinchos were my favorite thing in Spain.  I loved all the ones with seafood.  I enjoyed just standing around picking a little bit of this and that while having cava.  I would have loved the oreo pinchos!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      I’m sure I would have loved the Oreo pinchos too 😉

  8. Jen July 7, 2012 at 5:00 am - Reply

    I didn't try these in Spain, although I was in the Madrid area – stayed in a small town called Alcala. We did have some items on toothpicks in a bar in madrid – the items were Chicken Gizzards though. blech!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 7, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

      I had duck gizzards in Seattle. At least they were deep fried 😉

  9. Leah Travels July 9, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I'm headed to Spain in September for TBEX and then again in November. I'll be having each and every one of the tapas pictured above. I can't wait to eat my way through Spain!

  10. Jessica July 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    I love Lizarran! Your photos definitely do them justice. They have days where all the pintxos are €1 each, which makes it an even better deal. Yay for pintxos!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey July 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      Darn, I missed that €1 day! But, I still thought it was a screaming good deal. Yes, YAY to pintxos!

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    […] having my first Pintxos experience in Sitges Peter and I spotted the Fish Spa Bonaire, which had several smiling patrons and an […]

  12. […] having my first Pintxos experience in Sitges Peter and I spotted the Fish Spa Bonaire, which had several smiling patrons and an […]

  13. Born27 July 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    These pintxos looks incredible delicious. I'm so excited to try this. Thanks for sharing! Love it!

  14. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy August 4, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

    These look so tasty! That Oreo one might be the most amazing looking dessert I've ever seen. So sad that you weren't able to try it!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      I swear I need to go back to Sitges just for that Oreo pintxos!!

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  16. […] eating pintxos in Sitges, I swore that it was possible to survive solely on these toothpicked Spanish specialties. But, then […]

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    […] Annette Slowik White  is also a big fan of Spanish food as she demonstrates in this article on pintxos. […]

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  21. Kerry July 9, 2014 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Okay so I wasn’t sure about this post when I read Eel and then you had me at Sangria and then I heard more about Eel and was lost. 🙂 Oreo got my attention once more.

    • Annette White July 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      LOL! I am a huge Oreo fan and I did not expect to find one in Spain!

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